Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Pro-lifers are sometimes criticized for not emphasizing other quality-of-life (so to speak) issues like poverty, drugs, war, or AIDS. Those issues are important too, but unfortunately, not everybody can work on every social problem. It would be great--and some people do try to make some contribution to every kind of charity--but unfortunately there's not enough time in the day for any one person to do a lot for every issue. The people who fight abortion are just working on that particular thing because it's something they can do--maybe it's personal for them, maybe their talents happened to fill a need that a Crisis Pregnancy Center had that a St. Vincent DePaul shop didn't. Other people work on other things. There are plenty of people working on all the different social problems--or rather, there are some working on each but not enough working on any of them.

If you want to work on one, and it's not the pro-life movement, it's okay. You can't focus on one, though, pretend you think they're all worthwhile, and then tell a pro-life activist "Abortion doesn't matter or can't be stopped; my pet charity is most important or more urgent."

You can't have it both ways. Either fighting abortion is worthwhile (because abortion isn't the solution to the other problems), and you just have different preferences, or you like doing some charitable work but only want to hear support for abortion.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Liberals are moderate?

Seems a logical contradiction, but I often hear things like "over half the population considers itself to be progressive," although apparently there's still some nostalgia for family values (probably in a few of the flyover states that didn't get counted--perhaps the tradcon proclivities held by moderates don't really count, either) and "I'm really a centrist" from people who are clearly to the left of folks who identified themselves as liberal a generation ago--as if it were self-evident that the rest of the country moved that far left around them. Well, maybe two generations ago; the 1960s/1970s are a statistical outlier no matter which way you slice it.

I also hear things like "Reality has a liberal bias."

If it were so, why do we have to be told?

What's the word for the condition where people treat imaginary things that they want to be true as real?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Apologetic for a Random Reader (III)

Today's topic: the death penalty

How can we say we're part of the culture of life if we permit the death penalty? The culture of life bills itself as honoring the value of all life, so how can we execute anyone?

A similar argument can be make for Just War theory, but here isn't the place and now isn't the time.

First of all, while those questions are good ones, there's more to the culture of life than the matter of executing prisoners, which is why we normally associate "pro-life" with ending abortion. A well-ordered culture of life would seek to preserve all life, of both fetus and felon. The difference is the realization that we can't always do both; sometimes we need to protect the innocent from the criminal.

If we categorically refuse ever to use lethal force, then on the occasions that nothing short of lethal force will stop someone from causing great harm, we will be unable to prevent the harm. Our purpose is not just to refrain from causing violence; it is also to protect people from it when necessary (state of California notwithstanding, flight from an assailant is not always an option). If we are charged with protecting life, and we expressly fail to do so, then we are guilty of negligence. We can't wash our hands of it on the grounds that we avoided directly promoting a death. Life is a real thing we are obligated to try to preserve, not an abstract concept we serve only through personal avoidance of cause.

You'll get no argument that in this day and age, in this society, the necessity of applying lethal force after a criminal has been sequestered is just about nil. Thus, we admit the DP in theory, but usually deny it in practice.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

If we put health warnings on cigarette packages, shouldn't we also put mercury warnings on cans of tuna?

Monday, January 01, 2007

For my whimsy quota...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
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